It’s no secret that HBO has been home to much of the finest programming on television in the past decade, and Entourage has been a big part of that.
It sits amongst esteemed family: The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, and Flight of the Conchords, to name but a few. And it goes without saying that it more than holds its own.
Sad though it may be, all good things must come to an end, and as the saying goes, it’s better to burn out than to fade away, and Entourage goes out strong with its eighth and final season.
Picking up shortly after the last season left off – with Vince (Adrian Grenier) caught in possession of narcotics after a beat-down at Eminem’s party – the last ever season of Entourage sees our movie star back to his usual self after seeing a somewhat darker side of him in season seven.
We find him finishing up his mandated rehab session in the first episode, and looking to get straight back into work, taking his first steps beyond acting to pen an outline for a script that will become a continuing part of the season as the boys try to get it made as a starring vehicle for Drama.
Eric (Kevin Connolly) is, as ever, still not quite over Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), and has gone into business with Scott Lavin (Scott Caan), setting up their own managing company.
Drama (Kevin Dillon) is busy finally trying to get his own show, Johnny’s Bananas, off the ground with the ever-brilliant Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro). Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) is looking better than ever, moving on from Avión to set up a New York-based restaurant out in Hollywood.
And everyone’s favourite agent, Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), is his usual loveable self for everyone but his wife, Melisssa (Perrey Reeves), who finished the last season asking for some time apart.
If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll no doubt have faith that the final season is everything you’ll want it to be and more. Interestingly, this season perhaps had a fraction fewer celebrity cameos than usual, which I think was a solid and intentional move to allow us to focus on the five main protagonists all the more in these last episodes.
As HBO shows tend to be, the season is about as long as most UK shows, with eight episodes this season, and having that focus on the five boys – Vince, E, Drama, Turtle, and Ari – is important for their send-off. The cameos have always been exceptional, and that’s no different this year, but the focus is even more on the stars of the show itself, and it’s the perfect way to say goodbye.
These eight episodes bring to an end one of the finest programmes possibly of all time; certainly, it’s one of my favourite programmes of all time. Ninety-eight episodes and eight years later, the show has lasted longer and far better than most. It’s been a brilliant eight years, and I can’t think of a better way for the programme to have gone out – it truly does end on such a high.
Like Arrested Development, though, this might not be the end for Entourage. There’s already been talk about a movie in the months since its conclusion, and creator Doug Ellin is said to be penning the script right now, with executive producer Mark Wahlberg, who has of course been a big part of getting the show made, committed to bringing the film to fruition.
When the end does come – and the final episode is appropriately entitled, The End – be sure to keep the DVD (or Blu-ray, if you’re HD compatible) rolling for a brilliant post-credits scene.
There isn’t too much of note in terms of special features, with a recap of each season that would come in useful if you haven’t seen the past seven years’ worth of the show recently – fortunately, I re-watched the entire seven seasons in preparation for the eight season’s release, so it was all fresh in my head.
The main focus is Hollywood Sunset: A Tribute to Entourage, the excellent and nostalgic thirty-minute HBO special to give the show a proper send-off. Admittedly, this half-hour farewell has been uploaded (completely legally, by HBO) to YouTube, so is freely available to watch online, but it’s nice to see it as part of the box set itself.
As the programme comes to an end after all these years, we’re treated to a sit-down with creator/writer/executive producer Doug Ellin, writer/executive producer Ally Musika, Adrian Grenier (Vince), Kevin Connolly (E), Kevin Dillon (Drama), and Jerry Ferrara (Turtle), talking about how it all started and developed over the years. Alongside that sit-down are short snippets of similar interviews with Jeremy Piven (Ari) and Rex Lee (Lloyd), Rhys Coiro (Walsh), executive producer Mark Wahlberg, Wahlberg’s friends who originally inspired the show, and a handful of the show’s great cameo stars from over the years.
Entourage Season 8 is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.
Also released today is the complete eight-season box set, giving you all ninety-six episodes of the brilliant programme to take home with you in one neat little collection.